December 30, 2006

California Happenings

We're enjoying our time with John during his vacation. It's been so great having him home *all the time*. We're diggin' it! :)
So, we usually get up, have some coffee and hot chocolate, go outside and soak up some warm morning sun. The boys play, mom and dad tidy up the bus, and before you know it, it's 1:00 in the afternoon. The days fly by.

We went on a great hike today and we took some great pictures, but now can't seem to upload any to Blogger. I'm working on that one. Stay tuned... (I was able to upload them all to our flikr account, if ya wanna check them out!)

Before we went hiking, we stopped at Nature Health, a little healthfood store I found here just yesterday. I'm stoked, though, because she has a produce 'co-op' that you pay $5/month and get organic produce at her cost! I picked up a huge head of broccoli, 4 avocados, 2 mangos, 2 fat tomatoes, a big bag of celery and some cilantro for $9. Nice! What's nicer, is that she let me take all that food home, even without paying for it! She rings the produce up separately so she doesn't have to pay the 30% tax on it, as she's making no profit. No tax is charged to me, either. I was out of check blanks, and she said just bring one by! Wow! So, that's why we stopped there today before our hike, so I could pay up.

Then, John was craving some of his favorite mexican tacos, so we stopped at this little taco stand right by the park and he loaded up with tacos and a torta. Ohhhh, soooooo good! The boys played and munched and climbed trees, then we were on our way (finally!) to the mountains.
We ran into a ranger who gave us some maps/handouts with some great hiking trails. We'll be checking many of them out while we're here. It's only a 15 minute drive to the mountain; which is visible from our campground. In the dark, you can see the cars crawling and curling up and down the winding road. Very cool.

So, it's taken me a month to find my groove. That's ok. I'm missing home less and less, and enjoying where we are *now* more and more. It's all a journey.

We listened to Amy Steinberg's song many times today. The boys love it and kept asking to hear it again and again. Can do! I love it, too! It's amazingly beautiful and tender and powerful all at the same time.

I am exactly where I need to be,
I need to be exactly where I am,
I am a blessing manifest.


You must listen to it!

www.myspace.com/amysteinberg

December 27, 2006

Ooooo, Baby!

I know anyone who's given birth or welcomed a child into their life will relate to this. I remember it vividly, falling deeply in love before I even laid eyes on my boys, and then having that love explode immeasurably the first time I saw, touched, smelled and tasted my babies. To recapture that love, even in those moments of chaotic trips to the grocery store with 3 energetic little boys...what a blessing to us all.

Enjoy...

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle
www.enjoyparenting.com/dailygroove

:: Falling In Love for the First Time... Again ::

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with your
child for the first time? For some it happens before
birth, for some it's the moment of birth ("love at
first sight"), and for some love blossoms much later.

For most parents it's easier to love a newborn
unconditionally than an older child, because we have
fewer expectations of babies -- their existence alone
is a blessing.

Today, take a moment to recall the times your child
has inspired your heart to open wider than ever
before. Let yourself re-experience that glorious
feeling of Pure Love washing over and through you!

The more often you deliberately re-activate that
feeling, the easier it'll be to stay centered in your
heart -- even under conditions that seem hard to
accept.

When you feel your heart closing, simply recall those
peak experiences to help you return to your natural
state of open-hearted, easy-flowing Love.

Tell yourself often:
"Unconditional Love is my *birth-rite*!"

December 16, 2006

Our Lovely New Landing Spot

(this entry and the entry below were written Friday, Dec. 15)

We are now about 10 miles south of where we were before, right on Lake Elsinore. The town itself is about 35k people, and has any shopping we’ll be needing, including an RV shop. We’re at Lake Elsinore City Campground. It’s huge and has trees of many varieties, including several pines, so it feels familiar. There are very few people staying here right now, so it’s incredibly quiet and peaceful. The camp hosts are SOOOO nice, they’re from Greeley, CO and are workampers who travel around and work/camp in exchange for reduced camping fees and pay. There aren’t any ‘amenities’ like a laundry room, but there are 2 laundry mats just across the street. Still no wifi, but my withdrawals are lessening.

We inquired this morning about monthly rates, and they are typically $380/month for 2 people, and an additional $100 per person/per month. Eeek! Even kids! Well, they were sweet enough to just go the $380, plus $50/month for Max, so this is where we’ll be for the long run. Sure beats the $730 we were paying over ‘there’ to be treated like garbage.

Everyone is happier. There is much space to explore and no more feelings of being under a microscope. Our door opens to a beautiful lake view, and a huge yard. We’re the last site on this strip, so we won’t be having anybody on our door side at all. We listen to the sweet sounds of chirping birds all day, and the occasional boat roar by. It’s wonderful and I finally feel at ease.

(oh, and I can get wi-fi if I come to the edge of the campground, so I'll be writing for the blog, then cutting and pasting when I can get online)

Mean People Suck

After my last posting, on a day that started out quite well, I returned home to the bus and the campground and our grumpy neighbor who barks at her son all day and everything went south from there. Apparently, she’d had it with Stone and was outside with her son, P, saying, “Stay away from that boy” Now, staying away from “that boy: would have been much easier if our homes didn’t FACE each other. Our doors opened in towards each other, so we were, in essence, sharing a yard. Not good. Not good because we have toys outside, and they aren’t allowed to have any outside. Not good because they want to play with us and our fun stuff, and she wigs out if they cross the non-existent border dividing our space from theirs. Not good because P is dying to play with ANYONE and so does anything he can to get that attention; mostly from Stone. Stone was handing it well, I would step in when I saw his temper beginning to flare. Well, I guess I wasn’t there to step in once. According to her, Stone said some inappropriate things (I have to say he does speak from his emotion, whatever that happens to be at the moment) and she was afraid things might escalate and someone might get hurt. So, it was icky and tense and just all around bad. She didn’t want to tell me what happened, just being very snippy and loaded with attitude. It broke my heart that someone could have such contempt for my child. And that’s what it was, it was written all over her. I don’t know why I let this whole situation bother me so much, especially from someone who so sorely lacks anything resembling gentle parenting or even any compassion at all towards her children. (Although, the little girl gets much more positive attention than P and an occasional kiss/hug. Never saw anything positive directed towards P, not even a smile)

Ok, so this is my way of processing it all. I’m not trying to spread ill will toward her or her family, I just have to try make it fit into my world. I’m grateful for the support and wise mothers/children we are surrounded by normally. We *help* each other out, mom to mom, mom to kid, kid to kid…we’re there for each other. Not there waiting and watching to pounce on someone for doing something ’wrong’. I had a small clue something like this would happen after our first day of being there. She had her husband come talk to John because she saw Stone push P. Oh. Gee, maybe you should have just gone over and gently asked Stone not to push. Nah, just be a tattle tell, and better yet, don’t have the balls to come tell us yourself, just send your husband.

All right. All done with that little story. I should be grateful for the events that unfolded that day, because they spurred us on to find somewhere else to go. This all happened on Wednesday, and we were pulling out of the Dirt Hole from Hell on Thursday morning! The campground and many of the people working there were full of negative energy. They looked at you like you were speaking Greek when you went in to simply check on your mail. We pulled through the gates and felt immediate freedom and so much relief! So, thank you icky neighbor. You done us a favor!

And, thank you Rebecca, for being there when I needed a gentle heart and spirit true! I love you!!!

December 13, 2006

Curse the lack of Wifi access :(

We've been unplugged from the rest of the world lately. And I'm going through withdrawals. Seems the wifi we were getting was from someone parked near us in the park, and they pulled out last weekend, now we're without it. Thanks to that anonymous giver of your unsecured system, though! Maybe someone else will come soon? For now, I have to drive over to a coffee shop and sip a drink while I surf around and do other computer/internet related stuff.

This last weekend, we went to the ocean both days. On Saturday we went to Doheny State Beach. The boys caught tons of little crabs, found a football, played catch and tag with John on the beach. On Sunday, we went to San Clemente. My favorite spot so far. Beautiful beach, not a lot of people, huge waves because of the weather. We sat up against these gigantic rocks that protected us from the wind, so all we had was the warm sun on our faces and the sound and smell of the ocean right in front of us. We brought a bunch of food, and hung out and ate and played for a couple hours. And an added bonus was that the boys got to watch the Metrolink and the Amtrak come barreling down the track right by us a few times. It runs right along the coast there. We're planning on riding the train while we're here.

We've been searching for a different campground. Not having much luck. We did find "Ortega Oaks". It's above Lake Elsinore and it's the campground that used to have a petting zoo. But, the woman who used to run it realized her dream of moving to Arizona and living off the grid, so no animals there to pet anymore. The people at Ortega were very nice, but they don't have any openings right now. And, the drive to get there is 12 miles past lake elsinore, up a very big mountain. So, John would add 30 minutes each way to his drive every day. We would end up saving about $115 on camping, but John's time, and his time with us, is valuable too.

We found a very quaint little campground on the lake right there in Lake Elsinore, as well. It's called "The Outhouse". The woman who runs it is kind and she has a little boy a bit younger than Stone. BUT... they don't have any openings right now. They're working on evicting some people, though, so we left our information with her so she can call us when something opens up. We'd end up saving about $350 a month there!! Woo hoo! They have full hook ups and a laundry room, no wifi. But, we can access the lake from there, and the boys can go fishing any ol' time they want! It's also right across the street from the library, and just a short bike ride to Albertson's, so the location would be handy. The drive would be only 10 miles further than John drives right now, all on the freeway.

I've been missing my friends immensely lately. Even shed a few tears yesterday. John asked me what I wanted to do yesterday, and what I really wanted to do was go to a movie with Pam. I know I need to connect with some people here, especially the unschoolers at Long Beach. I will. It doesn't help that my major means of staying connected with people has been lost. Although, I could get used to this sitting in a coffee shop by myself listening to groovy music and checking my e-mail thing!

It's my mom's birthday today, and she's going to lunch with my sister. I'd love to be going with them. She (my mom) sent off a package to us today with some pepper sticks and other snacks the boys love and her funky sparkly little tree for us to put in the bus. The boys and I are starting to talk about what we might like to bake for Christmas goodies. It just feels so completely odd to celebrate Christmas when it's 75 degrees out and the palm trees are swaying in the breeze. Weird. I'm sure the tree will help, and the cd Amy's sending, and the baking.

I'll only be checking e-mail and blogging once or twice a week for now. Try not to miss me too much! :)

Manipulation is a GOOOOOOD thing...

Have you ever felt like you were being 'manipulated'? Well, now you can breathe easy and smile the next time you have that feeling...
This came to be at the pefect time - surprise, surprise, always works that way, y'know?-
I've been feeling quite distracted lately. Time to tune in.


THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle
www.enjoyparenting.com/dailygroove

--> New Audio for Premium Subscribers:
"Radical Parenting" (details below)

:: The Joy of Manipulation ::

The word *manipulate* means "to handle skillfully."
Since the main function of childhood is learning how
to handle life skillfully, a "manipulative" child is
only doing what comes naturally.

A good relationship is one in which both parties can
manipulate each other in ways they both enjoy. They
dance with one mind, like Fred Astaire and Ginger
Rogers. It's called *attunement*.

When you and your child are well-attuned, the
manipulation can be so subtle that all you notice is
the pleasure of your connection. But when you're
distracted or stressed, your child will escalate to
unsubtle, unpleasant cues like crying or whining --
whatever it takes to get your attention.

Conventional (adversarial) parenting advice says you
mustn't "give in" to such manipulation. The parent
"wins" when the child gives up hope.

When you understand that unpleasant manipulation is a
symptom of failed attunement, the path becomes clear:

* Attune with your Self.
* Attune with your child.
* Focus on the pleasure of connecting.
* Everyone wins.

http://www.enjoyparenting.com/daily-groove/manipulation

December 8, 2006

Friday, 12/8/06

I updated our blog to the Blogger Beta, and now I lost my Flikr Badge! Ugggh. Maybe my hero will again come to my rescue! A very tech savvy friend of mine from Soo Foo helped me out the last time it went all wonky! Mel.....? Would you be so kind? :)

John's working the day shift today, then next week moves back to the night shift. I'm looking forward to that. It's nice having him around here with us during our days. Our week has flown by. We've settled into a bit of a routine of doing a bike ride in the morning, just around the park. And, oh my! The park looks to be very level, but put a Burly and a kid or two behind you and you soon have legs on fire. There's a hill there somewhere, even though I can't see it! I have been saying I need some exercise...

Then, we play around the bus, we're close to the playground, so between here and there. D comes over, we play and snack some, then eat lunch. Hmmm, we do a lot of that eating thing around here! Then we go to the pool for a while. Sage mainly runs laps around the pool, naked, pretending to be "Soup-man" or "Pidaman", arms outstretched holding his make belive cape in the air. I've been jumping in the last couple of days, then mainly just sitting in the beautiful warm sun. It feels so good. The big boys play in and around the pool for an hour or so, then they're done. Then, shortly after, John arrives home and searches out his beloved Corona ;) and we all hang outside until it's just too chilly.

This weekend, we're going to go to a nearby town, Lake Elsinore, where there's supposed to be a petting zoo, then we're going to do a long drive along the coast. Just last night, as Stone was dozing off, he told me he really wants to go to the beach again. No worries, my love, we'll be there again soon.
I took this picture last week, just before I found a place to squeeze in for myself. We sure can fill up a queen sized futon in a hurry! Usually, John and Saylor sleep together on the futon in the living area, and the rest of us are here in the bedroom in the back of the bus.

December 4, 2006

New Friends

Saylor and Stone have made a new friend here. Well, they met him right away, it's just taken me this long to write about him. Anyway, D and his family are staying here for a few weeks while their new house is being finished. D says it's HUGE and is so excited about all the cool stuff they bought to go in it, like a pool table and a popcorn machine, and air hockey and...

Evidently, D's dad works for Blizzard Entertainment. Means nothing to me, honestly, but he went on to say that he helps people play War Craft...HUH? You mean World of War Craft? The only reason I even know what that *is* is because Hayden's a player and a fan. So, Hayden, we met one of the kids of the *top guys* there! I guess, by D's explanation, he's 3 away from owning the whole company. Cool!

He is such a nice little boy, and his mom is super sweet, too. She was telling me that they'd like to move. She's lived in CA her whole life and just doesn't "fit in". They have 4 children and people are always asking her why they had so many, are they Mormon? Funny! She's very kind and gentle with her kids and down to earth. I needed to meet someone like that here!

Today, my 3 and D all went swimming. (I was there, too, but water's too cold for me and Sage) Both boys are really enjoying him and they all get along together really nicely. They go outside in the morning, and I can't get them to come back in until it's nearing dark. They even request their lunch to be brought to the picnic table by the playground. Lucky ducks!

My Brother...The Best



Here are a few more photos of Laguna Beach. The kids had a blast discovering all the living beings in the tide pools, and Sage had a good time taking pictures of strangers. Notice his not-so-happy face there? He wants the camera BACK!

Sage's First Ocean View



We spent Sunday afternoon with my brother who is a graduate student at UC Irvine. He's such the scholar! We went down to Laguna Beach, and Sage saw the ocean for the first time. He chased a couple waves out, then decided he better stay closer to us when he saw it come rushing back in towards him. It was a beautiful day, and so good to feel sand between my toes and smell the air full of sea.

December 2, 2006

A Great Sunny Day

We had a lovely day. John squeezed in only a few hours of sleep, but was in good spirits and was up and about hanging out with us. We love that! We even spent a little time at the pool. I was a wimp, only got in about to my knees, but John (mr. I Can't Stand Cold Water) was a trooper and jumped right in. It was good to feel hot!

Yesterday (Thursday) we went into Corona and stopped at a local Mexican grocery store. They have the most beautiful produce, and inexpensive, too. They also serve the authentic tacos that John loves, so we grabbed a few of those and shared them.

We made a couple other stops, looking for tires for Saylor's bike and a new rim for Stone's...mission accomplished. Ms. Mama also made her very first ever trip to Trader Joe's. Fun! I even got to go in all by myself because Sage had fallen asleep, so I got to browse some and pick up some delicious goods for all of us. Saylor's been craving sushi (ok, so has his mum!) so I grabbed some veggie rolls. He and I polished those off as soon as we got back to the bus. We did share 1 with John, though. Can't wait to go back! It's 11 miles from where we are, doesn't seem like much, but by golly, it is quite the drive out here.

We also stopped at the library in town and I grabbed a book out of their little Book Shop there, for $1, hardcover! It's called "The Catastrophist". Set in the Belgian Congo in 1959; all about Patrice Lamumba and his rivals and the main character trying to survive it all. Looking forward to starting that. It's been a long time since I've read something other than non-fiction. I love a good book.

The Secret keeps creeping into my life...it's everywhere. Yet another sign that I must watch this DVD as soon as possible. Ellen had it on her show today (Degeneres, that is). I never watch her show, and was flipping through the channels as I nursed Sage back to sleep and I saw the info bar at the bottom of the screen. So glad I caught that. Good thoughts, positive thoughts, uplifting thoughts, abundant thoughts...it's all within me...what a gift.



Peace.

December 1, 2006

Back it up Boy!

That's among one of the stream of really great, loving things our current neighbor says to her 4 year old son....ALL......DAY.........LONG........
My heart breaks every time I hear her speak to him. He stands at their door and looks outside, wanting to come join our boys in play, and she barks at him to get away from the door. I'm tempted to tell the dictator that her child is most welcome to come over and play, and that that would be far less annoying than hearing her yell at him all day.

Depressing.

I told John he needs to get me outta here. This place isn't working for me. It's like living in a dustbowl; only a few of the most coveted sites have grass and the rest of us are left wading in fine dirt. The playground is outdated and boring. The rules are endless. They just don't really like children. It's obvious. And to top it all off, we can't pick up a freakin' signal for our satellite tv. OH, the horror ;)

Ok, I think that I've aired my grievances for the world to read, so I can freely let them go! Really, I'm not usually such a downer, but a girl can only take so much! I'm off to make up my Gratitude list now...

November 28, 2006

Turkey Day, Traveling and Transition

We had a lovely Thanksgiving spent with my mom, Curt (her husband), my sister and her family, and Hayden and Diana. They (H/D) landed at our house Wednesday evening, on their way back from Corvallis, OR. (someplace I GOTTA go!) Hayden and Saylor were enjoying each other so much that Hayden decided it would be cool to hang out another night, and send us off on our journey Friday morning.

The packing and other preparations for leaving seemed a little less organized this go round. Probably because we'll be gone for longer, and we'll be further away? I don't know, still trying to figure that one out...oh, the mysteries of the universe. Maybe it had something to do with John arriving home Wednesday afternoon, a day and a half before we wanted to head out. So, Wednesday was busy, Thursday was busier, and Friday morning didn't see our anticipated 8:00 departure time come to fruition. Oh well. We left home around 11:30, not so bad, I guess.

The trip was (mostly) uneventful. If you don't count the large quantity of diesel fuel that we donated to the Utah interstate system, then it was really a great trip! We slept in a truckstop parking lot Friday night somewhere in??? Sheesh, I can't remember. When we woke up, John needed to check on the small drip we were noticing below the fuel tank. He pinpointed it, got the parts he needed from the truckstop, and $48 later, we were on our way. (After filling up with $200+ worth of fuel, gotta know this little tid-bit for what's next to come...)

About an hour later, and after a couple truck drivers honked on their way by us, John pulled over at a rest area in Utah, to find a Ha-uge spraying, squirting, wasteful leak/flood coming out of one of the fuel filters on the engine itself. Oi, lots of wasted fuel, money literally down the road. Dang.

John decided to un-hitch the Suburban and head to the next town, 10 miles down the road to get the parts he'd need to fix this problem. The boys and I played at the rest area, exploring a big wild area of large bushy things that rabbits thought made the perfect habitat. We skateboarded, played chase, walked up and down the concrete drain way, climbed trees. When Stone announced that he was starting to get 'frost bitten', we decided to make our way back into the bus. I popped some popcorn, and we watched Shark Tale. John made it back and fixed the gash and we were again on our way. We fueled up -gulp- and this time kept the fuel where it belonged. Whew.

We made it as far as Barstow, CA Saturday night. We wanted to do some night driving so the kids didn't have to travel so long Sunday. They were ready to be done. After a hearty breakfast at Big Boy on Sunday, we rolled into Corona around 10:30 am. And now, we're here.

The campground is decent, except for the arbitrary rules they enforce, like "no rollerblading inside the park", whu? The kids can ride their bikes, but no rollerskating or rollerblading. Saylor is very much into his roller blades, though, so we have to hike our butts outside of the park, then go down the lazy lane that runs all the way around the campground. It's a beautiful walk, much prettier than looking at everyone's stuff in the cg itself and good exercise for me, so I won't complain (too much). Saylor's pissed, however. :)

I've been quite grumpy the last few days. In some funk, the transition has been hard this time. I have much to be grateful for and I'm working at keeping that as my focus. I feel the shift beginning, and tomorrow will be a better day. I'm up late so I could see my man off to work tonight. Poor guy, working while we'll be here sleeping, then he'll be sleeping while we try our best to keep quiet in our less than 300 sq. ft. we share. Perhaps tomorrow will be a good day to check out the farmers market just down the road from us. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for those inexpensive California avocados. Gotta have 'em!

November 19, 2006

Grateful for my Tribe

The boys (minus John, sigh) and I spent a lovely afternoon -and evening- with a bunch of mama's and papa's and babies and kids, feasting and giving thanks for the friendships and support that we share with one another. I am blessed, blessed, blessed for the people in my life. Thank you all for the beauty you bring to this earth...

Everyone brought something brilliantly delicious! Our menu looked something like this, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but, just to get your salivary glands going...! Everything home made, heart made:
quinoa loaf
veggie pasta bake
fruit salad
banana bread
pumpkin pie (2, one specially made for those gluten free eaters)
spring rolls with peanut sauce
rice noodle pasta dish
roasted sweet potatoes
eggplant/sweet potato/zucchini layered dish
pita bread
hummus
leafy green salad
wine
sparkling cider
more wine

And boy, can we put some food away when you throw a bunch of us together. Sheesh. It's almost embarassing (if I didn't love food so much, mabye!) But, we do love our food! The kids nibble and snack as they pass through the dining room, and the adults seem to stick close to the grazing field. Fourteen children played together quite happily, ranging in age from 12 months to 7 years. Another noteworthy bit is that of those 14 children, only 3 were girls! Must be the water?

Sage and two of his buddies thought it was just the perfect time to take a bath, and so they did. They were so cute, 3 little guys in the tub. The played with the sharks and turtles and other fun toys together, until they were done and ready to move on to something else.

Stone is really into borrowing things when we leave people's houses, but wasn't having any luck striking up a deal tonight, so had quite the meltdown as we were leaving. I helped him into the car, took off his boots so he didn't do too much damage to the dashboard as he was kicking it, and turned on a mellow song to try and help him sooth. Intense, but he did calm down, and I held his hand the whole way home, after he decided to let me touch him, that is. Whew, he was angry. Coulda been because he didn't eat anything there; he's much more into playing than eating that one! I offered several times, but he wasn't havin' it! Once home and cuddled on the couch with me as I nursed Sage to sleep, he said he was hungry. He requested his favorite, egg sandwiches. He always likes to have 2 eggs, on folded pieces of bread, so he ate them and promptly fell asleep.

Saylor decided to have a couple 'yolky' eggs, too. He actually ate a couple of times at the festival of food. He gobbled up the eggs and while I was cleaning up the humidifier for tonights use, saw the spicy black bean burgers in the freezer and said he'd like one. He's usually my light eater, he'll eat/try anything, but he eats so little at a time.

November 15, 2006

Is this really my life?

I ask myself that question often. Is this really my life? My amazing, wonderful, joyful, exciting life full of love and light and bliss? I am ever thankful for my life, for my children and the gifts they give to me every day, for the lessons they teach me about myself and for how they push me to be a better human being. I am ever thankful for my most wonderful husband, who loves me for who I am, who embraces all of my zany ideas with nothing less than pure enthusiasm, who trusts me deeply and who is my best friend in the whole world.

So, yep, this really is my life and I'm in love with it, can you tell? How did I get to this place, this creation of the life of my dreams? I honestly don't know, (well, I do have some idea) I'm just so very grateful that I did. I'm grateful that I decided to listen to that inner voice, even when it wasn't the voice of anyone else in my little world. It was telling me to do things that felt right, rather than to do things because "everyone else is". I still listen to that voice inside, that Goddess within. Forever wise and guiding me further down the peaceful path of more...

Buddhist Thoughts

It is important to recognize the power of our emotions--and to take responsibility for them by creating a light and positive atmosphere around ourselves. This attitude of joy that we create helps alleviate states of hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. Our relationships with others thus naturally improve, and little by little the whole of society becomes more positive and balanced. - Tarthang Tulku

I get a "Buddhist Thought for the Day" on my Google homepage, and this was the thought for yesterday. I love it! I think it embraces a facet of unschooling that so many unschoolers believe in 100% ... choose *JOY*... And just imagine the whole of society living with these intentions, truly awe inspiring if you can expand your mind large enough to really feel what kind of light that would bring to the universe.

November 14, 2006

Domestic Bliss

We really haven't been up to a whole lot lately, except for lounging around the house and playing and eating. We've all been quite content to just hang out here. The weather has been a little on the chilly side the past few days, so that keeps us inside.

John left Saturday morning to drive a tanker to Southern California. He'll stay there and work until Thanksgiving, then fly back here to load up his family into our second home and roll on back to so. cali. If it all works out the way I want it to, we'll rent our home out for a few months. It looks like the job could be anywhere from 4-6 months. I'd like to have someone stay here for really, really cheap, just enough to cover a small bit of mortgage and just to have a living body in the house. I hate leaving the house all alone; I'm sure she gets sad without us here.

My sister and niece came over for coffee this morning and we played a while then went to McD's for a nasty lunch; but more so the kids could play on the play land there. It was nice to spend some time with them, and even nicer to have some time to get to actually *talk* to my sister. It's rare that we talk, and rarer still that we talk about things that matter. We are so unlike each other, so I'm sure we both sit there afraid to say too much out of fear of hurting the other. Ahh, relationships...

Sage is taking a bath in the kitchen sink right now (don't worry, I'm right here beside him, laptop perched on the counter) and the big boys are in the tub. Sage has been having the time of his life with markers lately; coloring anything and everything, including himself and anyone else he can get to show some skin. I guess he loves the clean palette of a bare belly. He also discovered that dishes are really fun to marker up, and the fridge....ooooooo yeah, baby! I'm just not sure if he had more fun markering it or wiping it all off. What a great discovery, to use washable markers on the fridge. Thanks, Sage! It really does look fun, and had I not been in the middle of making pancakes and eggs for supper, I'da joined him. Tomorrow!

Saylor jarred his back today while doing flips on our bed. We have a twin mattress on the floor at the foot of our king bed. He runs, bounces off of the twin, then jumps up and does a beautiful flip onto the big bed. Today, though, his foot slipped off the edge of the twin bed, and he said it just threw off his whole flippy do. He's soaking in some epsom salt and essential oils right now. I need to dig around and find our arnica, too. Hoping all those things bring him some comfort.

Stone is big time into mama right now and I am big time loving it! As we were leaving the house today to go to lunch, Barb invited him to ride along with her but he sweetly declined and said he just wanted to come with me. Usually, he'd be the first one to accept. So instead, Saylor and Sage rode with her and Emma, and Stone rode with me. I love that kid!

See, the problem with my blogging, and lack thereof, is that I have soooo much to say that I find it to be an insurmountable task, and so I don't write anything. Maybe if I did it daily, it wouldn't seem to pile up so much? I guess that's just my style of doing things though, not that I exactly like that sort of style, but I'm the kind of person who will go for 6 months before writing down a single check or balancing the checkbook. I suck. Perhaps a change will occur?...?...?

November 3, 2006

Two Times Today?!?

Wow! Blogging again for the second time today! Can ya believe it? I just had to spill out a bit of the pure love and joy I'm feeling about sharing our week with Hayden. It's been so great to watch the dynamics of the human relationship unfold. Stone and Hayden even had some one on one time playing together tonight while Saylor played Superman on PS2. *THAT* was cool! :)

Stone fell asleep on the couch, so I brought him up to bed, then went back down to collect up my baby. Well, 2 hours later, and here I am. I'm tired and know I need to go to bed, but I was just having so much darn fun laughing with those two boys. They've been playing around with a couple birth balls I have, and tonight, they decided they needed to exercise. So, they were doing sit ups and push ups and other crazy antics on the balls.

I was showing the boys one way to do sit ups, and Sage was beside me doing his best to imitate (which boiled down to thrusting his hips/butt up off the ground). I was laughing about that, then Hayden made a comment about "oh, great, even the baby does 'em better than me!" Oh my! That made me laugh my ars off! The way he said it was priceless. No real feelings of inferiority, of course, just this statement, plain and simple. It was too cute.

Then, they decided they'd like me to warm up some apple crisp for them. Then I hear Hayden saying "I think I'm going to start eating more healthy and riding my bike more so I can get in shape." Then Sage wanted some leftover soup; then Hayden saw that and wanted some, too. I made it last night, with chicken, zuchini, onions, and sweet corn. T'was good! I asked Hayden how he planned on getting in shape, and he said, "Oh, I don't know, by eating more fruit and stuff; and soup like this". So sweet! Theeeen, they thought they really would like the pomegranite. I tried getting out of that one, they're messy y'know? But, how could I deny Hayden his first taste? I harvested the seeds and they both enjoyed them by the spoonful.

Such a good day, a good week, a good friend. I asked him if he would do something for us. Would he come back to stay with us again sometime? "Yeah, we're coming back through here on our way back from Oregon". That's great! But, will just you come sometime again? (not that I don't love you, D!) I told him that it's been really nice spending time with just him, and that we've loved the chance to get to know him even better, and it'd be fun to do it again sometime.
He said he would do that for us! Looking forward to it.

Now, they're downstairs, squeezing in some last minute time together before bed. They know they are welcome to come on up to our family bedroom and watch tv while they drift off to sleep when they're ready.

I'm headed there now to read a few pages of The Unprocessed Child and easy my mind into peaceful rest. Night.

November 2, 2006

Thursday

Our days have been fun and relaxing while Hayden's been here. There have only been a couple of times that they've needed, and taken, a breather from each other. We've been hanging out around the house, and the boys usually make their way into the kitchen at least once a day to make themselves something to eat. This ranges from scrambled eggs (which they are very good at!) to a creative concoction of various fruits thrown together and then cooked in a pan, and then put in the freezer for just the perfect amount of time. What perfect practice for when they become daddies and husbands; their wives/partners will be so grateful!

I met a prospective doula client last night; she's due December 1 with her first baby. They are a beautiful couple and will undoubtedly have a beautiful baby. I had some extra time, so I browsed around Border's with my cup of decaf and looked at some utterly amazing photography books. Photography...something I've always been interested in, but, like so many others, put it aside. For now, not forever.

Sounds like John will be in Omaha until Saturday, then hopefully he'll make it home late Saturday night. He was hoping to do more door-knocking this weekend. I'm sure he'll still get some done on Sunday. My good friend Pammy K. celebrates her birthday on Saturday, which is a really *B*I*G* occasion for her, so I'll be joining her and some friends for a drink at Minerva's.

I'd like to be able to volunteer some time between now and the election to help G.O.T.V. on behalf of the SD Campaign for Healthy Families. We'll see if I can steal away some time from the kids, or maybe even make a few phone calls from home. It's scary close right now, in the polls anyway. Last I checked, 51% for over-turning the abortion ban and 49% in favor of keeping it. That's too close. It makes me crazy that each side has spent about $8,000,000 on this issue. It makes me crazy that our lame state can't step up and raise the minimum wage so that families had more resources and wouldn't have to make such a painful decision in the first place. It makes me crazy that so much time and energy and money is being spent on such a hot topic that affects SO FEW, instead of really looking at making some positive changes for South Dakota that affect EVERYBODY. Between the abortion issue and gay marriage, it's just insane. Ya don't like abortion? Don't have one. Ya don't wanna marry someone of the same sex? Don't. Have you had a same sex proposal lately? Ok, whoa, kinda got carried away there. I'm all done now!

November 1, 2006

So Much Fun!

Halloween 06 was a fun one! We started celebrating last night with little pumpkins that the 4 boys carved. I'm 'mama on duty' to Hayden this week, so my three plus one! Today it was off to our Mother's Collective Party at 4:30. Next stop, Harvest Festival at a nearby church from 6:30 until 8'ish. And last, but CERTAINLY not least, trick or treating until it just got too darn cold for those big boys!

Sage and Stone konked out in the warm car while we dropped Saylor and Hayden off at houses that were still treating. In and out they went, over and over again. Hayden was determined to fill his bag up to the brim, and he did! My guys were ready to call it quits, but Hayden kept saying, "Oh, it'll be worth it!" So, that kind of kept them going. Saylor anyway! Stone decided he was done, cold, tired; so I hit a few houses for him while he stayed cozy.

As I carried in my two sleeping babes, Saylor and Hayden knocked on our neighbors door for their last 'hurrah'! Then, in they came to check it out! (see picture below, titled "The Loot!" :)
After they were satisfied that they looked through it thoroughly, they decided to re-watch Nacho Libre. I got them all set up with some protein snacks and glasses of water before I headed on up to do a quick entry and crawl under the down comforter with the wee ones.

It's been really great having Hayden here these past days. I was a bit nervous at first, Stone and he have a history of getting under each other's skin. They have done beautifully! I know they really like each other, they're just figuring it out for themselves. Funny thing is, they are so much like one another. Must be a second born thing?

And of course, Saylor is in Hayden heaven! They are getting in some really good time together, it's great to hear them off giggling about something. Today they had a 'moment', and I said "Awww, look, just like brothers!" It lasted about 2 minutes, then they were over it and on to the next experience, which was a joyful one from what I could hear echoing through the house.

Good memories being created by everyone . . . so much fun . . .

Sweet Dreams...


oct06 026, originally uploaded by thewildtribe.

The Loot!


oct06 027, originally uploaded by thewildtribe.

October 30, 2006

This is Big

I love this post and thought it prudent to share!

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle
www.enjoyparenting.com/dailygroove

::Emotional Midwifery ::

Today, if your child behaves in a way that you find particularly annoying or upsetting, try this perspective:

My child's behavior is *not* what's really upsetting me. The behavior is triggering unresolved feelings that have nothing to do with the present situation.

In other words, your child is doing you a favor! S/he's giving you an opportunity to heal -- to resolve an old hurt and release the stress it's been creating. You don't even have to figure out the cause of the unresolved feeling. Just *allow* yourself to feel it, and it will resolve naturally.
The following will help:
* Take some deep breaths and locate the feeling in your body.
* Don't judge, express, or react to the feeling; just be present with it, and let yourself experience it, even if it hurts. (Notice it hurts less if you don't resist it.)
* Be like an empowering midwife to the feeling, which is giving birth to new awareness, clarity, and freedom.
* Silently bless your child for playing a part in your healing.

October 29, 2006

Stuff

Sheesh, I just can't seem to get into being on the computer at all lately. Every time I get on, I'm there for all of 5 or 10 minutes, but then I just ***crave** being with the boys, so off I go.
John got home on Thursday and has been crazy busy since then. He leaves today at noon to go to Omaha, NE. We won't be going with him because it's only a 5 day job.
He knocked on a whole bunch of doors yesterday and handed out fliers about himself for the election coming up. Only a few more days to go. He's hoping to be back here to meet more people next weekend.
We went to a costume party on Friday at the Schuster's home. It was much fun, lots of games and goodies. The kids had a blast. Then our little Emma (my sister's baby girl, 12 days older than Sage) turned two that day, so we partied a bit with her to help her celebrate!
The Jenner duo came on Friday and is spending the weekend with us. We're doing a whole lot of slackin' and that's a good thing. Diana took Hayden and Saylor down to help paint some pro-choice signs yesterday; Saylor said he had a good time doing that.
Today we're off to church; they're having an inter-generational service for the Day of the Dead. Should be interesting; I always enjoy spending time with that community of people, and the kids are coming to know the other children there, so I love that for them, too.
We have another Halloween party to go to on the 31st, with our Mother's Collective tribe. Sure to be lots of yummy but healthy food and snacks, and games for all the little creatures that come.
And now, I need to start putting my mind into birthday mode, for our little man Sage will turn 2 on the 8th. Doesn't seem right! My baby . . .

October 20, 2006

Ok, Already!

Since I get so much guff from my friends when I don't post, here's one for ya'll! :)
We're busy here in Rapid City, hanging out with friends and otherwise keeping busy playing together at home. We had a large crew of mama's and energetic, wonderful children over here today. I made a big pot of tomato leek soup and some homemade apple crisp, and the other crunchy mum's brought yummy food to share, so we spent the day feasting and talking and laughing. The kids enjoyed each other, and ended the day watching some of Over the Hedge, which we'd just rented last night (and my boys have watched, oh, I think 4 times now?)

Heidi (of the FiveFreeBirds) mentioned on her blog that she felt like she didn't have a lot to write about now that they're off the road. I can see where she's coming from. When traveling, every day is really an adventure. Not that we don't have our share of them now, it just seems that days fill up with stuff, and at the end of the day you're thinking "what did I do today?" When you are on the road, that's all you have to think about, what will we do today, what did we do today, oh, better blog about that... There isn't a WHOLE house to take care of, and a WHOLE yard, and 20 steps to get from one room to the next to deliver a snack or a drink of water. And I am beginning to see the beauty of only being able to do laundry *1 TIME* per week.

John is still in Colorado Springs working, and will be over the weekend and into next week. I had a slight break down the other night, but after talking to him for 2 seconds, felt better. I was really just pissed that we aren't together, so I aired it and he heard it and empathized and I moved on. That was also the night I really wanted a glass of wine and the corkscrew was in the bus, and the door is sticking and I couldn't get in to get it! Which is probably a good thing! Not such a good idea to turn to a substance when your stressed, but oh, a half a glass woulda been oh so good.

There you have it! I'll try to be better at this now that we're home. Love to all! :)

October 9, 2006

Home

Just a quick update, here, then off to bed for me!

We left Maple Grove on Saturday morning, and drove about 6 hours to 'drop cord' at a friend's home out on the plains, near Kennebec, SD. Tried to have a fire under the lovely full moon, but the wind had others ideas, and the darn clouds kept hogging the view for themselves.

The boys had a good time seeing John's llama's, and running about. We left this morning (Sunday) and drove the rest of the way home. This is where we are, and waiting to see where we'll be next.

There are rumors of a short job in Colorado Springs, and if so, the boys and I will likely stay here and meet up with John after they've had time to re-connect with all their buddies.

Then, maybe??? after that, on to Cali?

I'll keep ya posted!

October 2, 2006

My Happy 34th




Well, been meaning to get this day blogged since the 26th, but life gets busy and my beauties beckon. Now that everybody is sleeping and I can’t stay on-line to check my e-mail for god knows what reason, I’m putting together this entry to cut and paste later!
The day was the nicest, weatherly speaking, day we had all week. Sunny, just the right temp, not windy, just a really pretty day. John even got off early and was home by about 4:30, instead of the usual 7 or 8. My lucky day!
Before John got home, the boys and I went for a bike ride, played shuffleboard, did 5 loads of laundry (yeah, on my bd, it’s all good!) and played on the playground for a while. While doing laundry, met a musician from Hawaii who’s been on the ‘mainland’ touring since May. He described his music as similar to Jimmy Buffet’s…island type of music. I told him if he saw us out and about later to come on over and have a Corona with us to celebrate my day.
We grabbed some take-out from Applebee’s, brought it back here and had a picnic, then some cake, and a fire, and some more cake. The cake really flowed the rest of the night, mainly from Stone and Sage’s digging fingers, and it was gone before we went to bed. (don’t worry, though! It was a small cake! Whew, I’d just polished off a good chunk of the cheesecake I’d made the day before, so thanks for takin’ her easy, John!) The Whaleshark did come over to enjoy the fire and a couple cold ones. Rain forced us inside the bus where the boys promptly crashed and Eric, John and I chatted til after midnight.
We also met another nice gentlemen today, Tim. He’s spent the last 9 years re-storing his GMC motor home thing? Not sure what the technical name is, but he calls is “The Greenroom”. It was the first year GMC made a motor home, if that means anything to you? He was in broadcasting, was also a traveling musician, and now is doing? Not sure? Anyway, he gave us a tour of his pad, and it was very cool, in a retro-disco kind of way. Mirrors everywhere, all the lighting on dimmers, lots of neon, high tech, sleek lines, and a disco ball! (Told John we gotta get one of those!!) We invited him over to help us eat cake, so we had a nice little party around the fire for a while, complete with new friends.
John bought a speaker dock for Saylor’s iPod, so we have some good sounding tunes in here now! It’s really a gift to us all, more than something just for me, and that’s the way I like it! I think I’ve got to save some pennies now for a bigger iPod. Saylor’s Nano is already full, and the same 88 songs over and over….well?
Got some phone calls with loving wishes from my family and friends. It was a good, good birthday. Looking forward to this next year on my journey!

September 24, 2006


We thought this was kind of a funny sign.

Minnesota Children's Museum


Dad and boys are out on a bike ride, so now that the floors are all swept and scrubbed, I thought I'd jump on here and give a quick peek into what our day looked like yesterday.

After everyone was awake, we talked about what we should do. Thought about doing the Minnesota Science Museum, to see the Body Worlds exhibit, but then thought that John and I would probably enjoy that more than the boys, so we started planning a trip to the Minnesota Children's Museum. (that, and the fact that it was $29 for adults, $12.50 for children for Body Worlds, and a mere $7.95 for the children's museum! :)

After we'd discovered that Saylor was woefully lacking in jeans to wear, we made a quick trip to Target, picked up a couple pair of jeans, a coat (he didn't have one for this winter), and a Green Day T that he just *haaaad* to have! Oh, and a new belt, sheesh, he's growing!

He threw on his new duds, and looked so handsome, I must admit! Then we were off to St. Paul for the museum. We took in the whole thing, I think? Got there around noon, and stayed until they closed at 5:00, with a little break in there for a fabulous lunch in downtown St. Paul. During lunch, the kids spent lots of time feeding pigeons and birds pieces of their french fries.

After we played like crazy people all day at the children's museum, we made a quick and delicious stop at an old-time home-made candy store just a couple doors down from the museum, sweetly named "Candyland". The boys each chose some candy, and so did the grown-ups! I had a piece of sponge candy -- it's sort of like this divinity type of textured candy covered in milk chocolate. Oh, yeah! Mama like! Since it was raining pretty well by now, and pretty cool, we stopped at Dunn Brothers, grabbed some coffee and hot chocolate, and then headed to Uncle Jim's house (John's brother) in Northfield.

We had a really full, fun, memory filled day.

It's a good life!

September 22, 2006

RVP 1875

When we were at the Des Moines home/unschooler park day on Wednesday, Ann mentioned to me that she and a group of homeschoolers made a trip to Story City (where we're staying) once to attend a workshop at this very unique business. RVP 1875 stands for this gentleman's initials and the year that he researches for all of the pieces of furniture he builds in his store. Everything he makes is made in the same fashion that furniture would have been built in in 1875; meaning he only uses the tools from that year as well.

After story time at the public library, we decided to drop in on this quaint little shop that I'd been eyeing since arriving, since one of his window signs says, "Coffins". Just made me wonder? We walked in only to find another group of homeschoolers busy building their own little tool boxes, using the tools from 1875 and learning a lot about cabinet making in those days in the process. Since the class had started an hour before, we didn't jump in, but just watched for a while. Robby (owner) did let each of the boys try their hand at hand planing a piece of wood. I asked if it would be ok to come back later in the afternoon and see more of the tools and ask more questions. He said his apprentice (a real apprentice, too, this kid doesn't get paid!) would be there all afternoon and would be happy to let the boys use some of the old tools.

We made a quick trip to the grocery to pick up some fruit, then home to eat lunch and ask Dad if he wanted to go with us, and we were off to RVP 1875. The boys, with JD's (apprentice) help, built themselves a nice sturdy little tool box. They got to saw the wood, plane the wood, rip the wood, and nail it all together. They loved it!

If you are ever in this neck of the wood, I *enthusiastically* recommend checking this place out! They are passionate about what they do, and it shows! The store was very charming, with exquisite handbuilt furniture pieces, ranging in price from $100 to $5000 and up. We especially loved all of the sawdust and wood ribbons scattered all over the floor. We took some with us for our next bonfire.

September 21, 2006

H.A.I.K.U.

(((Hooray for Awesome Iowa Kids and Unschoolers)))

Wow, Wow, and Wow again! We had a terrific day today! We left the bus about 9 am, quietly sneaking out so as not to disturb John who’s been working 6pm til 6am. We drove the hour drive to Des Moines under lovely sunny skies. Heather and her boys were waiting at the zoo for us, and so we got started there. Blank Park Zoo is such a wonderful little zoo. I was quite impressed! The animals were very close, easy to see. There was one part that you actually walk right into the enclosure with emu and kangaroo. They didn’t seem the least bit worried. We just stayed right on the path, and all was well.
The boys fed hungry goats that were brazen enough to jump right up on you if you weren’t fast enough with the food. The koi fish were hilarious, too, as hilarious as fish can be, anyway! They were all jumbled into a single corner, mouths gaping above the water, hoping to get lucky enough to land a treat!
We even got to see a sloth hanging on the fence, close enough for us to touch! We were literally less than a foot from this beautiful little creature, with the kindest eyes! It was so neat to see it up close, and watch it eat it’s apple and cucumber slices for lunch.
And to think, the day can get even better! We went to the Browns’ home for some quick pizza lunch (yummy--thanks, guys!!!) and then off to the park to meet with some area unschoolers! One of the mothers there noticed Saylor’s Live and Learn 2005 t-shirt, so came right over to us to tell us she and her family were there last year, too! There were a couple other families that were there in 05, and one of those made it to ABQ this year, too! That was the coolest thing! Connecting with complete strangers, over something that we all feel so passionate about. Again, fast friends were made all around.

We arrived at the park around 2:00 and didn’t leave until after 6:00 (I think it was like 6:20 to be exact!) I hardly saw my 2 big boys the whole time. Stone and Holden were off doing their buddy thing, and I was touched to see that. Stone seems to always be the one that gets left out, so I reveled with him in his time with a friend *just for him*. Saylor was playing with a group of 9 other boys and girls, of various ages. They played hide and seek and freeze tag; then spent some time building fairy houses, I mean cabins. (Saylor just corrected me ;) At one point, a little 4 year old boy, not with the group, starts to wander over to the big group of kids. His mom calls him back, and Ann (awesome woman I really clicked with) goes over and explains that he would be welcome to play with the kids, and that she (Ann) would walk him over and introduce him if she (mom) wouldn’t mind. Ann shared that as this young mother was leaving a while later, she was in tears over how warmly this large group of children welcomed him in. She explained that her son was already on an IEP and didn’t know how to play very well with children; and that these kids today just absolutely MADE HIS DAY!!!! As it’s been said a million times over and I’ll say it again ……
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!UNSCHOOLERS ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 18, 2006

Sunday with the Browns



We met some Iowa Unschoolers! Yaaaay! Heather is from Des Moines. She’s been following us on our blog and we got in touch, and arranged a get together. Des Moines is only about an hour from where we are in Story City, so it just worked out so nicely! Her and her husband, Cliff, and 2 darling sons, Holden and Camden came and spent the day here with us on Sunday.
We ate and visited and ate some more here at the bus/campground. The boys were ultra busy the whole time catching 1 armed frogs and large toads missing their back legs! Well, only one of each of those mutations, but interesting, nonetheless! They also caught a gigantic bullfrog. And to think, people eat those legs? Eeeewwwww! And we can’t forget the gardener snake!
It’s always so fun to hang out with people that feel like ‘home’. Having never met them, there wasn’t an ounce of that ‘hmm…what to talk about’ stuff. It was just like hanging out with friends. I guess it’s easy when values and choices align with each other; always something comfortable and familiar to talk about.
After we played here, we went into Story City and rode their antique carousel. Beautiful! (thanks for letting me steal those pics, Heather! J Then, it was off to the park to play; the park is right beside the carousel, so that was just a given! We did get them out of there by promising ice cream cones at McDonald’s. It’s always nice to ease the transition with something else fun! We said goodbye to the Brown’s, with hopes to see them again on Wednesday when local Iowa Unschoolers get together for their weekly park day!

September 15, 2006

Quiet Time

I have such guilt about being on the computer too much during my boys' waking hours, so I've decided to try to do most of my computer stuff when they are dreaming (and snoring, from the sounds of it!)
I was just spending some time checking e-mail: Yikes, Amy! I hope that bat wasn't rabid. We were using big thick gloves, and it was squeeking at us and showing it's teeth, so don't be so sure we weren't handling a rabid bat. Great. We put the bat on a tree beside the bus, and it climbed up, hung out there until dark last night, then moved up higher. We kept an eye on it all day today. It's in the same tree, but it's been in several different places. It was kind of funny earlier, because it's pretty windy here today and the thing was blowing around in the wind, hanging on by it's toes for dear life! We'll check on it again tomorrow.
Then I spent some time browsing other unschooler and fotr (families on the road) blogs, and they are ever so inspiring. Every one of them. I love this life we have chosen! We're lucky and grateful--very, very grateful. My favorite discovery tonight was http://www.hopalog.com. They live in MEXICO part of the year! And the pictures on her blog are stunning; as are her children.
John has been gone this week, doing 'bump grinding' (yep, that's what they really call it! :) so the boys and I have been flying solo since Monday night. He should be home tomorrow afternoon, then doesn't have to work again until Monday night, so we'll have 2 full days together. He misses the boys, and of course they miss him, and of course I think he needs to get his fancy pants back here, but, gotta make the money when you can, especially when you have 2 mortgages hanging over your head.
Our Sioux Falls house has fallen back to square one. The friend who was going to rent it can't now, and so here we are with that payment. Yuck. I'm tired of it, but waiting for the universe to bring to light the lesson we're to learn. As the old saying goes, and it always proves to be so true "everything happens for a reason".

September 14, 2006

Photo Explosion






Here are some of the fascinating creatures we've been finding at the campground (Whispering Oaks CG) we're staying at in Story City, Iowa. The bat is my favorite! I love bats! I was walking over to the laundry to wash a load of diapers and noticed this little darling sitting on a hosta. We grabbed a pair of Dad's thick gloves and have made a dark little place for it to sleep for the day. We're wondering what it'll do tonight. I'd like to create a custom made leash for him and have him buzz around our bus at night gobbling up mosquitos for us! S'pose that's do-able?!? ;)
The water way you see is right by our bus, and that's where the boys spend their days catching and releasing tad-pole like things.

Photo Explosion, Continued






The photos of the water are from our own little "private beach" we had, no one else was there! We had fun playing monkey in the middle, building sand structures and splashing around. The other 2 are in the bus; the boys all snuggled up in the bedroom watching Looney Tunes on a rainy day, and the other of mum and babe, surfing and nursing.

Gentle Parenting Guru

I recently discovered this guy through my unschoolingbasics yahoo group. He has a free "Daily Groove" (gotta love that name!) that comes right to your in-box, and it's been so inspiring every day. The groove is always very short and easy to read, and always such good food for thought. This journey called parenting is sometimes difficult, but most certainly the biggest and best thing any of us will ever do; it's always nice to have a little coaching along the way.

The groove below discusses being 'present'. Boy, we can all use practice there! I found it especially interesting because this past week and a half (since being on the road) I have felt so extremely present and peaceful, just *being* with my boys. We've all gotten along so well, have been sharing laughs and adventures, and I'm seeing the true beauty in being present. It's worth any amount of work it takes, just to have a pay-off this big.

http://www.enjoyparenting.com/daily-groove/unconditional-presence

I hope you all enjoy his insight and can find some use for in your lives, as well!
Happy grooving!

September 13, 2006

September 8, 2006

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

That’s what these little boys are made of! Though the only puppy dog tail we have around here belongs to our big dog who technically isn’t a puppy, our boys had a great day searching for and catching frogs. (We did see a few snails, too, but they just weren’t as enticing as the great frog hunt!)
The boys brought home a total of 8 frogs, 2 large, weird tad-pole looking things, and 1 actual tad-pole. One of the frogs still has a bit of a tail, and another has only 1 eye. Stone thinks we seriously need to make an eye patch for the one-eyed frog! We were laughing thinking of all the ways we could make a little tiny eye patch for our little tiny hopping friend. We decided fishing line and a soft green leaf might do the trick. Then Stone closed one of his eyes, and imitated what the frog might say, “Arrr, Matey, ribbit!”

September 7, 2006

Mosquitos Terrorize Family

Night two at Brown’s Lake, and the mosquitoes really had it in for us tonight! Before we went to bed, I rubbed lavender all over the boys and myself, hoping that would keep them at bay. I think it did keep them from actually biting us, but they were noisy little pests, just the same.
I laid there for a long time, listening to them buzzing around my ears, trying to swat them in the dark, constantly sweeping my hands over Sage and Stone to shoo away any would be offenders. Finally, around 1:00 am (((yawn))) I got up and got the fly swatter and got to work. Poor John was awake too, between the blood sucking pests and his allergies…sigh.
We probably killed at least 20, and you could literally hear them buzzing around the room. As I was telling the boys this story at the beach the next day, we were making up stories about them. One of them went like this:
The mosquitoes are all on those noisy little motorcycles and they have cut-off shorts, and tattoos, and missing teeth, and the lead mosquito says to his pals, “Hey, guys! I see a whole bed full of warm, tasty bodies. Attack, attack, attack!"
It was so funny to imagine these little fella’s as having a pre-meditated plan to get us, and joking about what they might say to each other as they come in for the assault.
Night 3 will be a better night!

September 6, 2006

Making Lemonade

Nope, not the kind you drink, but what you do when life hands you lemons.
Our first full day at the campground started out great. John got off to work, the rest of us woke up joyfully, anticipating *something* fun ahead. We had eggs for breakfast, our first cooking breakfast in the bus. Saylor helped, because he can reach the stove really well and he's already announced he's making breakfast for us tomorrow!
I told the boys how much I love being close to them like this; how it's great that I can be right here in the kitchen and they're in the living/family room, and still right beside me!
We all went outside and discovered some interesting looking spiders. The boys got out their creature identification guide, and as we found a new bug, spider, etc, we would take a photo of it, then look for it in the guide. They even saw a big spider wrapping up lunch that had gotten caught in its web.
John needed some things for lunch, so we loaded everyone up in the car (this is where making lemonade starts to come in!) and after I'd let it run for a while, it was smoking. Uh-oh! I turned it off, only to have it refuse to start again.
Luckily, we have our bicycles!! Stone and Sage crawled into the Burley, Saylor on his bike, and we started the 1 mile trek towards the sleepy little town of Sloan. First stop, a local pizza joint where we ate some tasty home-made pizza, and the boys blew some (ok, lots) of their cash on the video machines there. Then we peddled the 3 blocks to the park; very nice park! A climbing wall and horses and airplanes for swings, as well as the usual big playground equipment. I pushed all the boys in the baby swings and Sage enjoyed the slides.
Next stop, grocery store, about 3 blocks back toward Main St. again, everything is really within a 3 block pedal, really! The boys got a few little $1 items from their dollar section, and a snack and then we headed back to the bus. As we were riding back home, I was thinking about what a good day it had been, and how there was a time in my life that I would have chosen a very different 'attitude'. I'm glad I chose joy today. It was a good day!
Notes from JohnÂ’s day:
(written by Karen w/ his permission)
He came home from work, I headed over to check out a campground 6 miles away, by a lake we hear? We decided to move over to the new campground, so he buttoned everything up, loaded up the bikes and the dog and the Saylor, and headed over. He was so focused on making sure everything was in traveling order around the outside of the bus, all doors shut, hoses, cords in, etc, but then overlooked the crockpot sitting on the kitchen counter, full of our chicken and brown rice dinner. When he got here, he told me it ended up on the floor! Ooops! He scooped it right back in with a spatula, though, and it was delicious even if it did spend some time on the floor! Our glass butter dish also fell out of a cabinet, hitting and ***gasp*** breaking, our espresso carafe; the caramel syrup we use for our daily breve's glug, glugged a bit down onto/into the stovetop.
I had to laugh when I got in here and saw the damage. I can just imagine the drive over here; food on the floor, stuff flying out of the cabinets, Max (our big dog) trailing dinner all over the floor with his paws! Funny if you think about it, really, but John wasn't laughing. I got it all cleaned up, no problem, and am chalking it up to the old 'sh--' happens thing!
We had a fleet of mosquitos that snuck their way into the bus somehow, so random slaps of the skin could be heard into the night as we all tried to drift off to sleep as they feasted on our blood. Johns words: "Tomorrow will be a better day". Yep, let's just hope the skeeters pick another family to torture tomorrow night!

September 5, 2006

'Twas the night Before...

this family hit the road.

John and I are sitting here in the bus, the boys are all snoring in bed, while visions of gas prices dance through John's head! :)

Ok, seriously! We've been busy the past couple days moving what we'll need into our cozy little rolling home. We've decided to sleep in here tonight, so the boys can stay in bed while we start up the engine and get moving. Our maiden voyage will take us to Sloan, Iowa for a few days, then to Osh Kosh, WI.

It's been a lot of fun getting everyting ready, way more fun than I thought it was going to be, actually! And wonderfully smooth, too! We're all still really happy and really excited, no freaky outburts by any of us, so far! I feel like this is *exactly* what our family needs to be doing right now. I'm so grateful and looking forward to being close, in every way, to my family and to myself. Life is grand!

August 31, 2006

Fun filled days!

We've been busy lately, doing the usual. Tuesday: Errands and a Target visit where Saylor got some roller blades (finally! his words) and Stone got a skateboard. They have played with these now every day, all day since then! Yesterday, Saylor didn't take them off ALL DAY, and it's heading in that direction again, today. If Stone's outside, he's on his board. They're fun to watch! Park with friends yesterday, all the boys (her three and my three!) got into the water and floated on down the canal type thing. It's only about 1/2 way to knee deep on me, so it was shallow and perfect for them. They had a blast. Then, had ice cream on our way home.
We've got the big bus sitting in front of our house. I just finished cleaning it up, wiping everything down, scrubbing the (beautiful!) maple floors. Now, it's ready for our stuff. I'll be slowly putting things in the next few days, and doing quite a bit this weekend to get ready for taking off. It sounds like we may be headed to Sloan, IA for a few days, then to Osh Kosh, WI for a bit after that.
I'm happy that John won't be leaving us 'behind' this time; that we'll all be driving away together. That doesn't mean there isn't a TON of work that has to be done for that to happen, believe me, there is! Who will forward our mail? Should we cancel our dishnetwork? Gotta halt the newspaper subscription. What about cell phones? Are ours ready? Keep or cancel our home cable internet connection? This part really *isn't* a whole lot of fun.
Many of these questions would be easier answered if we knew where, exactly, we were going, and for how long, exactly, we might expect to be gone. But, BUT, with John's job, there are never *any* exactly's, so we've got to make the best choices with the information we have in front of us -right now-. Which is, really, the best way to live--in the right here and the right now!

August 27, 2006

a Long day, a Good movie, and taking Care of me!

Our day started with a trip to Custer to see my Dad and Lili (pop's partner) in their new, beautiful home in the hills. We walked around the property and got kinda soggy, as it was raining off and on, but the boys had a great time climbing around on the big rock outcroppings and exploring the new turf. We headed back towards Rapid City around 2, making a quick stop at the health food store in Hill City to pick up a few treats for the remainder of the drive. I asked the boys what they would like to do tonight, and threw out some ideas: get some movies and hang out at home? hang out with grandma? "GRANDMA!" was their resounding answer! Yes, that would be fun! Then, perhaps, I could sneak off to a movie with a friend, yep, liking this idea! Well, Grandma wasn't up for the visit today, so I went down my list of other options: Barb, going to Deadwood, darn! Mary, going to a b-day party, darn! The boys suggested I call Cole's mom, so I did. "SURE! bring them over" Cool.
I dropped off the 2 big boys, met Pam at the movie ("Little Miss Sunshine" --eccentric and wonderful, witty and painful all at the same time). Sage was cooperative and stayed on my lap the whole time, happily munching popcorn and organic chocolate covered raisins smuggled in from said health food store above.
Then, back out to Kendra's to snatch up my boys and share dinner with her family. Yummy spaghetti, veggies, and *smoothies* for dessert. Delish! Left their around 9:00. Checked in with John, who's been on the road all day, bringing our bus home. All's well and smooth there!
Upon arriving home, carried sleeping Stone upstairs to bed, Sage decides he wants a bath; in he goes, and Saylor can't pass up the chance to join him! They play and rub bubbles all over each others heads and giggle.
Then, we three head on up to bed, Sage nurses and is out, Saylor gets tummy rub from me, and is out. I go back downstairs to get ready for bed and then decide *I* want a bath! It suddenly occurs to me that I haven't done anything for a really long time to take care of myself! I usually am pretty good about that, so can't quite figure out how I managed to 'forget'? Hmmm? Well, a steaming hot, hot bath with several drops of lavender essential oil, and a cup of Roiboos tea...mmmmmmmmmmm a wee bit of heaven here on earth. It was a good day and it's gonna be a good sleep. . .

August 23, 2006

House Full of Boys

Here I am, the only female in a house filled with 4 boys! John always points out that growing up, he seemed to end up hanging out with all the females, say, after T-giving, all the guys would veg in front of the tube, but he figured out early on...women are where it's at!! Even now, he is often the lone male among a tribe of women, usually all sitting around with babies on breasts! So, how ironic that I now am surrounded by all of this male energy.
Our neighbor is spending the night. We took him swimming with us (big plans to swim every day until the pool closes Saturday), then brought him back here and had tacos, and now they are building with K'Nex. Sage is sleeping upstairs, I'm listening to the boys talk and giggle and build and plan. I'm also reading hannahbearski's blog, and crying. Today is Hannah's birthday. She died on her 1/2 birthday, exactly 6 months ago today. She was 9 1/2.
My dad's birthday is today.
My brother's birthday was exactly 6 months ago, February 23.
I just realized that detail a few short moments ago.
Yesterday, our neighbor children were outside playing catch and the Shrek soundtrack. I had just been mentioning to them that there was a special song on that cd, so they found it and had it cranked and on repeat outside for me to hear. I sat on my porch, and cried. It was the song that Diana had playing for Hannah while everyone came in to say goodbye. She had it on repeat. I hadn't heard that song since that day. Hearing it literally took me back to that moment. Hannah so beautiful, Diana so broken...laying beside her baby girl, holding her, loving her, squeezing her eyes shut tight, as if hoping that she could please just wake up from this horrible thing that's just happened.
Hannah, you are with us all, everyday, in everything we do. Thank you for the goodness you brought to this earth and for the people you continue to touch.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Namaste~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 20, 2006

"Dom'p!"

That's Sage's word, a mixture of "STOP!" and "DON'T!"
How cute is that? Oh, and he says is with conviction, so,
there's no mistaking what he's a talkin' 'bout!

August 18, 2006

Our New **Rock &!** Rollin' Home!

Here she is!
We just have to figure out how to get her home, now! We are super
excited about this and can't wait to move in! :) The boys are
working on 'naming' her. We'll keep ya posted!

Run, Billy, Run

I recently participated in a mixed cd trade for imagination tribe. We were supposed to put some songs together that inspired us, spoke to us, had an 'unschooling' feel to them. I received my 12 awesome cd's in the mail yesterday and started listening to them today. Zenmomma's cd, beautifully titled "Feed Your Soul" had this song on it. Run, Billy, Run by Dana Lyons.
http://www.soundclick.com/danalyons

Check it out! It's beautiful. . . in a sad kind of way.

Here is the list of songs I had on my cd:

Three Little Birds Bob Marley
Can't Keep it In Cat Stevens
Don't Panic Cold Play
Ruby Fruit Gwendy Joysen
All These Things
that I've Done The Killers
Drive REM
Nightswimming REM
Don't Let us Get Sick Jill Sobule (off of "Enjoy Every Sandwich" Warren Zevon songs)
Everyday People ? you know "i, i, iiii . . . am everyday people"
Dear Prudence Beatles for Kids
What I Got Sublime
Miracle Drug U2
Smile, Sophia Toadstool Jambouree
Yellow Coldplay


I wanted to include a couple more, but ran out of time.
*I Can Tell We're Gonna Be Friends (not sure if that's the exact title?) by Whitestripe
*On Children (another one from a Music for Little People cd we have. It's actually an old poem performed musically, very pretty) The lyrics I can remember right now go something like "your children, are not your children, they are the sons and the daughters of life, longing for itself, they come through you, but they are not from you, they are with you, but belong not to you. You can give them your love, but not your thoughts, they have their own thoughts. You can house their bodies, but not their souls, for their souls dwell in a place of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams, you can strive to be like them, but you cannot make them just like you" ok, that's all I remember, and don't quote me, cuz I may have some of them wrong! :)

****and it's not really 1:33 am right now, my timer on the blog is an hour ahead. but I am going to bed! sweet dreams!****

Re-connecting...

I had dinner tonight with the most *lovely* lady! Bonni and I met long ago when I taught summer school here in Rapid City, and her beautiful mama was my ...college ...guidance counselor (the exact name escapes me now, but she helped me design my course of study, made sure I hade all my credits squared away, stuff like that!)
Our relationship is pretty cool in that our paths seem to cross every couple of years and then we just chat away like we just saw each other yesterday. I love relationships like that!
She is a gentle parent with deep respect for children, probably why we click so well! We had some good laughs and she kept Sage quite entertained with 'goodies' from her purse. Speaking of purses, I think I'll be doing one up for each of the boys! Thanks, Bonni! ;)
I am constantly amazed and honored by the beautiful people in my life. I am so grateful.

August 17, 2006

Simply, Magic

Last night, John got home late, 7:30sh, showered quick, scarfed down dinner, then out the door at 8:15 to go to the Howard Dean soirre (is that the right spelling, oh well!) So, the boys and I headed over to the YFS parking lot, where we like to zoom our bikes around. At first, Stone and Sage were in the Burley, and Saylor and I rode. After a while, Stone asked to come back home and pick up his bike, so we were all peddling. We played follow the leader, and had to do all kinds of wacky things on our bikes, especially when Saylor was leading!
After we tired of riding, we got off the bikes and hit the pavement with our feet, some of them bare, and dirty now! Saylor and Stone were playing, running around, jumping up and pushing off of these concrete light bases, and Stone said, "Mom, this is so much fun. It's just like a playground!" Course Sage was just giggling as he did his best to keep up with them and mimic every little thing they did. Little sponge 'o mine!
Well, then the sprinklers on the boulevard came on! Yeah, it's dark, around 9:00, of COURSE they had to go through them! So, up and down they ran, over and over and over, until they were dripping wet-- but HAPPY! :)
And again, Sage followed, his little legs working so hard to carry him up and back more than 5 times.
As I watched my joyful boys dig into their world, I smiled and was happy to share in that moment with them, even if I stayed dry! It makes me see the beauty that unfolds when parents say YES more! As we continue to say "yes" more to our children, I really notice those around me who are 'no' sayers, and it just makes me feel deflated. I can't imagine having someone tell me every minute, what to do, how to do it, why to do it, and on and on. Blech....

August 16, 2006

Going Mobile?

We are seriously considering buying a bus so that we can go where John is working instead of being separated from him so much. We have our eye on one in New Hampshire. It's so funky, groovy, cool! The family seems quite in-line with our feelings about lots of the natural family living kinds of things, too! They shared sleep with their 2 daughters, the bus has 2 wool/cotton futons, beautiful maple floors, and they decided against the vinyl headliner because of the heavy metals used in creating vinyl! Hmph! Sounds like my kinda family!
I will post a picture of it as soon as we know it's a done deal. Sounds like John will work around here for about a month, and then they'll send him to??? If all goes well, we will be heading out with him to wherever that ends up being. We are looking forward to the adventure of traveling, seeing and experiencing lots of new things along the way. The boys are super psyched about having a motor home, and they agree that the bus looks 'cool'!

Yard Camping

Yesterday, as dusk was settling in, Stone was all geared up to go for a little bike ride - in his new helmet and pads, etc. Off he went, around the block and through the alley, coming back to tell me he wants to go exploring, so "I can explore the world". I guess he thought that meant setting himself up a mini camp site, complete with his bike, his gear, a little chair, and a sleeping bag request. I ran up and grabbed one for him, and asked where he would be sleeping. He thought right outside our fence was the place, and I asked him if he would feel safe out there. He decided on re-settling within the safety of our fenced front yard.
Then, he asked me if I would like to come lay down with him and look up at the stars together. WOULD I??? I dropped everything I was doing and went and cozied in beside him. (Sage was happy right on top of me, also looking up at the stars.) This, naturally, led to "do you want to go get a sleeping bag for yourself so you can sleep out here with me?" Well, y'know I had to! Up I go to retrieve another sleeping bag and Sage's nighttime diaper. We unrolled our bags side by side in our front yard (wondering now if the neighbors have proof positive that we are, indeed, crazy!) I really thought this was going to end in, "ok, that was fun, let's go inside". Nope! (though saylor did retreat after about 20 minutes of humming to tunes on his iPod)
We spent the night sleeping in our yard, all night, all hard, lumpy night! Really, though, it was fun! I only had to flick off a couple bugs and then try to put them out of my mind so I could go back to sleep and not think that every little sensation was a giant spider crawling on me! Of course I was up very early, with the sun, in fact. It's a bit hard to sleep when you can hear cars zooming by and your neighbors talking in their back yard.
Well, we made it through safe and sound. John came out at around 5:30 on his way to work, and just laughed at us and said something like "crazy woman", and "you guys are so funny". I don't know? It was early... :)

August 14, 2006

Stone is 5!

We had a really fun birthday party yesterday for Stoney's special day! He invited about 10 of his friends, and then of course 6 of their little siblings, and the mama's and papa's that go with each. It was a free-flowing party, he opened gifts as people arrived, which was so nice! He really got to 'get' what he was getting and focus on it, instead of being bombarded with the pile staring at him. He opened 2 of his gifts from us first thing upon waking, then waited to open the other 2, which was great, because then Dad got to see him open those. We didn't think John would make it home for the party. He was stuck in Roger's, MN waiting to hear the where/when/how of his next move. He got the call at 7:00 pm Saturday night to go ahead and take the truck he had back to Rapid City in the morning. He fell asleep, woke up at 1:00 am, felt refreshed, and hit the road! He got here a bit after 10:00 am, what a man! His boys were thrilled to see him, he'd been gone for nearly 3 weeks.
Ok, back to the party! :)
Stone wanted a 'messy party', so we did! We had 25# of flour poured onto a tarp with various tools and toys to play with there. We did a pinata, which got smashed quite nicely! We had 12 cans of silly string emptied into our yard, colors a flurry, and grinning children. I like to say that was the 'primer' of the real mess to come! Next, we had whipped cream pie fights. Each child had 3 little paper plates loaded with whipped cream, we counted down from 10, then...fire!!! We were all covered with the stuff, but I'd have to say John got the worst of it! Super cool fun!
We made 3 cakes (boxed, yeah, I'm a bum!) and ate most of them at the party. Now there's a partially eaten cake sitting on our counter, which I visit often in true Karen style, with fork in hand! It doesn't really count if you don't actually cut yourself a piece, y'know! :)

August 1, 2006

Slacker :)

I've been quite slacking in the blog writing department, lately. Sorry for all those of you who just can't wait to read the next installment of what this crazy mama is up to with her tribe of boys. Well, right now, John is working in MN for 10 days. We're planning a trip east to Sioux Falls this weekend for the Folk Fest, where we'll listen to 3 days of outdoor music, and camp with friends.
Saylor and Stone both started 2 week tennis exploration classes this week. Of course, this means we've already trekked to Target for rackets and balls for each of them. When they are into something, they are really into something! Which is a good thing!
Been watching some good movies lately, have a huge stack of books from the library we're hoping to get to before we leave later this week. Blew up our Bonzai water slide and used it the last couple of 100 degree days. Today was really nice, in the 80's. A welcome break for everyone. Grabbed a few new games yesterday (Battleship, Mancala for Kids, Dominos) and have been playing them, which proves to be super challenging with a grabby little baby in the room!
Ok, starting to zone out now, a sure sign I need to get to bed.
Blessings. . .